The past four months have been some of the more difficult ones of my life. I am no stranger to limbo, and my life path has certainly been uncertain since leaving my full-time job in Massachusetts and moving to Arizona. However, the combination of two months in one temporary location, a brief reunion with my husband in Brussels, followed almost immediately by a return to the U.S. to get my long stay visa, then back to Brussels, has pretty much thrown my system and spirit completely out of whack.
This is an incredible time for a wandering spirit such as myself. I know that had I been born in another time, I would have left home in search of foreign lands and likely only kept in touch with friends and family via letters. Even then, the number of people with whom I might have maintained contact would likely have been quite small.
With a shrinking globe and strides in technology, I can wake up in one place in the morning and find my Self on an entirely different continent in a matter of hours. However, just because my body has physically arrived at a new location doesn’t mean that my spirit and soul have caught up. With all of this back and forth, I am not entirely sure where the rest of me might be, perhaps hovering somewhere in the ethos above the Atlantic?
It is a mixed blessing to live in such a mobile moment in human history. I have the opportunity to meet beautiful souls every time I uproot myself from one place and move to another. On the other hand, I am also constantly leaving places and people behind. While there are promises exchanged for keeping in touch, I know that in truth I begin to fade from view for most people, a kind of phantom memory.
Through social media, I am able to bear witness to people’s continuing lives. I see their photos and learn news of their life, but I am on the outside looking in. Friends who have been dear and once kept me in the loop of life events simply fade away. I might get a quick message here and there, but even those seem to grow fewer and far between with the passage of time. I watch friends have babies and know that I will not be there to watch them grow up. I see friends travel, get married, and settle down. Their lives go on without me, and their communications are taken up with new friends. I am not their person any more, and my attempts to reach out in my own times of need are often unrequited.
This is by the far the most difficult part of being a wandering soul in a modern age. If it were an earlier time, I may be better able to practice acceptance and let go, though this has never been my strong suit. I recognize that I have made the choice to wander, and this comes with a price. I have not as yet been able to make peace with the real consequences of this choice. I still want my close women friends (the very few I have bonded with over the years) to reach out and bear their souls to me. Instead, they carry on with their lives when we are no longer in proximity and I rarely hear from them.
My husband tells me that I should be happy for them that they have found happiness, which we all deserve. I recognize the wisdom in this advice, and I know that I would likely be happier if I could simply practice acceptance and joy for my friends who have been through storms and come into more peaceful times. However, I cannot help but feel a certain amount of heartbreak that I have been left behind. I want to be a part of their happiness, to share in their joy. I want to be a person they still think to reach out to in times of both joy and sadness. I have lost people who were my touchstones, and I feel lonely. I am no longer a part of their daily life. I am somewhere out in the ethos.
The solstice has arrived, and another year has nearly come to pass. I find myself reflective and melancholy. The days will lengthen; the air will warm; life will continue as it always does. I carry a deep sadness within. I worry that I might not be able to replace it with an equally deep joy. I feel an existential wavering over my life path. I see other people’s lives and wonder how they can be so full while I feel so empty? What am I missing? Perhaps, I could reach out to ask their secret. Perhaps, I already know the secret and am stubbornly holding onto realities that no longer exist.
I know that to find peace requires that I let all of this go. All things inevitably change. People change. I change. I also know that I am very loved. Perhaps this year, I will find a way to make peace with limbo.